Outdoor Adventures: Time for Segway!

I love the outdoors – and I love trying new things. So when I got the chance to go on a Segway adventure this month, I jumped at the opportunity! Up until this point, I’d only ever seen Segways on the television (or on hilarious YouTube compilations of people falling off them…) and usually they’d been zooming around cities or transporting security guards around shopping centres. Bumbling around the woods on one sounded absolutely brilliant – and, actually, yes it was!

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Segways aren’t without their challenges to overcome, however. For starters, they’re actually pretty intimidating beasts up close, and they can go pretty darn fast if you want them to. And, there’s a lot of safety equipment involved – helmets, elbow pads, shin pads – plus a fairly serious talk which basically dissuades you from acting like an idiot on them. These things are heavy, fast, and they have no brakes – all of which makes them enormous fun to ride on when you’re dodging between trees and zooming down hills.

After the safety briefing, we were invited to trundle up and down in between some cones to get the hang of maneuvering these beasts. While some people are cursed with bitchy resting face, I appear to be cursed with terrified resting face, because all the way through my practice (and the resulting rally through the trees) people kept asking me if I was okay. Firstly, I was concentrating on not falling off, but secondly, I was also having a blast, so I have no idea where the aura of terror was coming from, but I shall put it to good use this Halloween.

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To start with, I found it difficult to get my head around how to move the Segway around. Even getting on it for the first time was a pretty intimidating experience, as you use your body weight to direct the movements. If you’re not centered, stepping onto the Segway can cause it to go forwards or backwards, which is hilariously terrifying the first time you get on one. But it doesn’t take very long at all to get used to it, and once you do, it becomes almost second nature. It’s almost like learning to ride a bike, except you don’t fall off, and your dad’s not standing there shouting at you. (Or was it just my dad that did that?)

So, the Segway moves forward when you move your body weight towards the front of the machine, and it stops when you rock it backwards. It’s almost counter intuitive to move this way to start, as your mind is telling you you’ll fall forwards if you tip so far, but after some practice it’s easy to master. Turning works in a similar way, you tilt your body weight in the direction you want to go in. Although it seems strange at first, by the end of the session these body movements, plus the speed, made it feel almost like you were flying through the trees like some kind of magical Disney princess. Of course, the men can just imagine they’re Superman or something – or a slightly hairy princess if they want, I’m not going to judge.

Segway montage 3

Once we had proven our mettle by not falling off our Segways, running over our own legs, going backwards into a ditch, or mangling ourselves in unlikely accidents, we set off on a short jaunt at high speed across a field and through some trees to a circular trackway in the woods. We then spent the remainder of our session looping around this circuit – firstly rather gingerly, and then with more and more confidence, until at the end it was entirely possible that one of us could have taken off if we’d had a big enough gust of wind behind us.

By the end of the session, everyone was grinning from ear to ear, as they returned their safety equipment and picked up their certificate. There’s just something about a Segway rally that makes you feel exhilarated and upbeat, and I can’t wait to go again. If you’re used to the same old outdoors activities and you want to try something different, or you’re looking for something fun for a birthday, hen party or team-building exercise, I’d definitely recommend it. It’s impossible not to have fun – and it’s also pretty hard to be really bad at it, too. And by the end, you feel like you’ve achieved something. I shall definitely be listing Segway Operator on my CV in the future.

You can book a Segway session from Activity Superstore. You can also book loads of amazing other activities on the site, from spa days to supercar drives! Check it out at www.activitysuperstore.com. I received a complimentary session for the purposes of my review, but my opinions are my own.

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A starry night manicure for Halloween

I love Halloween, and I usually spend most of October getting ready for it – can you tell? While Halloween itself is but one day a year, you can still let a little magic into your life this month with this pretty matte navy and gold mani, originally inspired by this Pin I found, which sadly leads nowhere now! The thing I like about this look is that it’s smart enough to be worn any time of year, but still has that special spooky something if you want to show some Halloween love without resorting to the obvious green, orange and black.

Halloween manicure OPI

Creating this look couldn’t be easier – you just need a dark blue colour, plus a top coat with gold flecks, and a matte finish. I used OPI’s Keeping Suzi At Bay, The Man With The Golden Gun, and Matte Top Coat.

Halloween manicure OPI

All I did was layer on one coat of Suzi (top), then two of Golden Gun (left), and then one of the Matte (right). I don’t know whether I prefer it glossy or matte, because either way I totally love this look! It took me ages to decide which blue to get, because usually I end up with a dark navy that winds up just looking black on my nails. But this colour is deep and beautiful, with a pretty pigment that’s perfect for autumn and winter!

Halloween manicure OPI

So, whether you’re celebrating Halloween, Bonfire Night, or any other wintery holiday, I think this is a great look that’s  opulent, classic and stylish all at the same time. Though, I still fall in love with pretty much any colour topped with The Man With The Golden Gun, so I may be biased!

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Party On: PopChips Review Extravaganza!

Recently, the nice people at PopChips sent me a box of tasty treats to review, and by a fantastic coincidence, they arrived the day of my best friends’ birthday (they are twins… the grammar is making my head ache)! Already armed with the super delicious (but highly calorific) Kettle Chips I had already bought, I took the box along to share, and get everyone’s opinions about PopChips.
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I first heard about PopChips through Jillian Michaels’ podcast, as she’s an investor in the company (and you know I love me some Jillian). These are often listed as one of her recommended snacks on her diet plans. However, these really aren’t diet food – but then, they’re not really crisps, either. They’re puffed up discs of deliciously flavoured, 100% real potato goodness, and each bag is under 100 calories.

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Think popcorn, but crisps! So, I took my magical box to the party (not just ANY party, a 30th birthday party!) to canvass some opinions. And to be honest, some of my friends sounded like they were auditioning for a job in PR when I asked them to text me their thoughts later – they obviously really liked these crisps! (And there were plenty of Kettle Chips that got left behind that night, let me tell you.)

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This is Charlie. He had plenty to say about PopChips, all of them in handy, bite-sized slogans. He started off quizzically.

“Who would have thought you could flavour air? Crazy!”

Then he upped the ante.

“They were so good, I had my sex-face on. Mmm-mmm.”

(I did not get a sex-face photo. Sorry.)

He finished off with:

“If Sting had PopChips, he wouldn’t need tantric sex.”

Indeed! Those salt and vinegar ones must be good. (What a scamp!)

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This is birthday girl #1, Rachel! She loved the salt and vinegar flavour too, and complimented them on their crunchiness.

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This is Lorraine, birthday girl #2! She was also heavily into writing slogans when I texted her about her thoughts. “Why have crisps when you can have PopChips?!” she demanded. “Taste just as yummy but fewer calories – just what I want from a snack! Particularly liked the barbeque flavour, very tasty!”

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As you can see, Omar was initially sceptical about the idea of low calorie crisps. He is a man’s man. Man’s men don’t eat low calorie crisps. However, he was won over, and pronounced them “tasty, and surprisingly light.” Well. He was eating the manliest flavour, after all.

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Here’s Sara (you might remember her from the post about WestQuay’s new Dining area). She liked her salt and vinegar flavour, and told me she reckoned they were “a good alternative to crisps.”

Finally, my dear husband, Michael. We don’t need a quote from him. Look how happy he is, just eating those PopChips.

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Really, the face says it all, doesn’t it?

You can buy PopChips at WHSmith, Waitrose, Ocado, Boots, amazon.co.uk and many other fine retailers. Check out PopChips’ site here! Or, visit them on Facebook. Tell them I sent ya!